A few weeks ago, I was invited by Royal Caribbean International to spend the afternoon aboard the Brilliance of the Seas, one of their mid-size cruise ships that sails seasonally out of Tampa, FL. Ironically, I sent a family group of 30+ people on this ship this past Thanksgiving, but I had never been aboard the ship before.

Let me tell you – this is a beautiful ship. You would never know that she is 18 years old, considering the refurbishment she underwent in 2013. And she’s due for another one next year. The public spaces were all very well-kept and clean; the ship felt elegant. The main atrium/centrum spanned 7 decks, with the bottom on deck 4 anchored by a very active, lively bar. The interior public decks span from deck 4 to 7, and upward from deck 10.

We were taken to see a number of cabins, from the incredibly spacious Royal Suite down to a standard Interior Cabin. I think the cabin category that struck me the most was the Ultra Spacious Ocean View cabin at the forward of deck 7. It accommodated 6 guests VERY easily, with two picture windows to the outside and a separate sleeping nook with bunk beds. It is a great category for a larger family that still offers separation between the parents and kids. Definitely one I would book if a suite wasn’t in my budget.

Lastly, we were treated to an a la carte lunch in the Minstrel Dining Room. I had shrimp and mango ceviche, fired skirt steak w sweet potato and a blondie brownie (which I didn’t get to eat, thanks nut allergies!). The food was bangin’; I had no complaints. I left the ship happy and full, after booking three cabins for my clients of course!

Now that I’ve toured Brilliance of the Seas, I feel incredibly more comfortable recommending her to clients looking for a shorter sailing to the Western Caribbean. Tampa is an incredibly easy city to navigate, and Port of Tampa is very friendly for cruise guests. This further illustrates WHY it’s so important for me to go on these ship/resort tours: I go so YOU know that my recommendations are solid!